Microblading is a great way to fix all your brow problems, but you should be aware of possible risks before you book an appointment. Read on for all the possible microblading gone wrong scenarios.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2019. Updated in May 2021.
Microblading has been the most popular permanent makeup procedure for quite some time now, which is no wonder since it can give fabulous results. However, although this procedure is generally considered relatively safe, there’s always a chance of microblading gone wrong.
On top of that, breaking the skin for any purpose can lead to serious consequences. So if you’re thinking about getting your brows microbladed, there are a few things to consider.
We’ve explored all the ways in which microblading can go wrong, what to do when it does, and precautions to take to avoid an unsatisfactory result in the first place.
The primary reason some people are reluctant to get their brows microbladed is fear of a botched job.
This implies all kinds of poorly executed brows: uneven, asymmetric arches, needle strokes too long, too short or too thick (the most common issue), unnatural positioning of the arches, blocks of color rather than hair-like strokes, wrong choice of pigment shade, etc.
The depth at which the pigment is injected is also a potential issue, as injecting it too deep will lead to gray or blue undertones once healed. On the other hand, not injecting them deep enough will reduce pigment retention.
All these can leave the client with unnatural, artificial-looking brows for up to 18 months.
Apart from these aesthetic disasters, poor execution can leave you with an infection, permanent scarring if the technician is too aggressive, or an allergic reaction if the tech fails to do a patch test prior to the procedure.
If you’re considering undergoing a microblading treatment, do your research. Our ultimate guides are a good place to start:
The answer varies from state to state.
In some states, an individual has to go through a long period of training and apprenticeship that is supervised by the local government. In other states, the microblading regulations are less strict, or may not even exist. A number of states do not recognize microblading as a separate treatment, but rather a branch of tattooing, so there are no laws pertaining specifically to microblading.
This can be a problem, as the best way for a state to protect the customers is to assure there are no untrained artists offering services by passing unambiguous laws that deal with permanent makeup specifically. That’s why many artists are pushing for stricter regulations.
Check the licensing conditions in your state and see if your artist complies.
The consequences of bad microblading treatment can be both physical and psychological, both of which can affect the life of the “botchee”.
An allergic reaction will manifest itself in an extremely uncomfortable inflammatory process. Similar symptoms can appear if the pigment used is of low quality and includes nickel, which the body will try to get rid of.
Most common infections are mild and not serious, but a more severe infection can lead to swelling and permanent scarring. It’s also likely you’ll need antibiotics.
Since the position of the eyebrows is close to the sinus cavities, if an infection is not treated promptly and properly, it can spread and become life-threatening.
Apart from the already mentioned health risks, which are very rare, a bad microblading job leads to a drop in self-confidence and perpetual discomfort. Those affected become more withdrawn and avoid social situations because their brows draw looks from strangers.
There’s also an element of disappointment.
When you go to have your brows done, you expect to come out of the salon loving your new look. But when that look turns out to be something you dislike, this leads to different negative emotions like disappointment, frustration, and anger at the artist. All these emotions affect our general well-being.
They are further enhanced by the stress of having to go through corrections or removal. The bills from these additional appointments can pile up and make a dent in the budget much bigger than you’d been expecting. Not to mention how tiresome it can be having to follow a strict appointment schedule some removal methods require.
Corrections and removals are also additional trauma to the skin, so the whole process is quite draining and exhausting both physically and mentally.
That’s why both clients and established permanent makeup artists are in favor of stricter microblading regulations which would eliminate the risk of undertrained artists practicing permanent makeup.
Microblading is a semi-permanent makeup procedure – the results last up to two years and without touch-ups, they will fade.
However, a botched job usually eliminates the possibility of that long a wait. Prevention is definitely the best cure, but if you find yourself with unsatisfactory results, fortunately, there are ways to fix it through camouflage, gradual fading or removal.
It sounds obvious, but minor imperfections can be camouflaged with eyebrow pencil just fine.
Before you start to panic, make an appointment with another, more recognized artist.
Unfortunately, many artists are used to fixing others’ mistakes, so they might have a practical solution. It may be an extra cost, but if the results can be fixed with just a couple of additional strokes, it’s worth a shot.
You do need to wait until the original work heals completely – up to a month and a half.
Saline removal has turned out to be quite successful in removing unwanted PMU pigments. It implies having a saline solution injected into the treated area over the unwanted strokes.
Saline removal can even remove the pigment within following the procedure.
Depending on the amount of pigment injected, and their type, it takes up to 4 sessions which are done in 8-week intervals to get all of it out, but eventually, it will work. Be prepared for some intense blading, though.
There’s also the good old laser removal. This is done by a dermatologist or removal expert. However, be prepared for some pain and discomfort.
In order to avoid the hassle of fixing a microblading gone wrong, do your best to prevent it from happening it in the first place. The best way to do this? Research.
The choice artist is the most important factor that will make or break the final look.
As we’ve already mentioned, you should avoid unlicensed, self-taught and underqualified “artists”, regardless of their low pricing. You may save money initially, but the cost of damage control can make the total cost skyrocket.
You should look into the artist’s portfolio (these are usually their Facebook or Instagram pages, or just ask for examples of their work when you go in for consults) and ask around if your friends or friends-of-friends know anyone who’s been microbladed by that particular artist.
For some salons, there are reviews available online, too. If you come across many negative ones, it’s best to look for another artist.
Your research doesn’t stop once you’re at the salon.
Look around the artist’s workspace for certificates, they’ll usually have them on display. If they don’t, ask for proof they’ve gone through proper training. You have every right to do so!
Before the procedure starts, if the workspace and any of the tools look like they’re not sterile, the best option is to back out.
The awkwardness of the situation is not worth an infection. If you notice the artist hasn’t put on surgical gloves or a protective face mask, you should react. The artist is also supposed to open all disposable supplies in front of you, so you can be sure the blade hasn’t been used already and that it is sterile.
It is also their responsibility to ask you about any possible medical conditions (some medical conditions make you unsuitable for microblading) and allergies and do a patch test.
You will probably have to sign some forms, too. If they don’t do any of these things, it’s a sign of unprofessionalism.
You should ask about the ingredients of the pigments used regardless of your prior experience with tattoos or permanent makeup.
They may contain some ingredient you’re allergic to, and nickel should be avoided at all costs. It might be a good idea to look into some brands beforehand, so you get the idea of what is good quality and what is subpar.
Microblading is a procedure that works best on normal to dry skin.
Microblading for oily skin is a bit trickier to do and the results may not live up to your expectations. Regardless of the artist’s experience, oily skin retains pigments harder and it is prone to pigment migration, which makes the strokes of microblading blurry and thick in time.
The problem here is that your artist can’t know what will happen to the strokes until they’re healed. So if you have oily skin and want to enhance your brows, perhaps it’s better to go for a machine treatment like powder brows.
Microblading can give amazing results, but only if performed by a certified professional. Be careful who you trust with your brows, as this is a crucial step to avoiding microblading gone wrong brows scenarios.
Besides obvious changes in appearance and potential health and infection risks, a bad microblading leads to a drop in self-confidence causing long-lasting discomfort. If you’re considering undergoing a treatment like this, do thorough research beforehand, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Our ultimate guide to microblading is a good place to start.
If you do end up with a bad microblading despite all these precautions, microblading gone bad can be mitigated to some extent through several methods. Unfortunately, they’re neither painless nor cheap.